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Russia has the makings of a high technology leader

With global technology leaders in Russia for the international nanotechnology forum Business RT spoke with Koponen Pakka, founder and CEO of Spinverse, about the development of the Skolkovo hi-tech centre.

KP:“I have heard both two arguments. One says you cannot found a Silicon Valley. On the other hand Russia has a history of making big decisions and building projects, so it might happen. It is not going to replace all the other great cities, Zelenograd is one of those, St Petersburg has great potential, and many other cities. And I think that what Russia is doing well in Skolkovo is attracting large foreign investors, and I think it might be this fact that is going to make it successful.”

RT: Are you advising your clients to invest in Russia?

KP: “We are advising our clients to work in Russia, definitely. Because we see that there is a big opportunity for western companies. There is a vast amount of natural resources. There is very strong fundamental science in chemistry, physics, materials technologies, and there is abundant capital to strive for this development. In the same way we see that Russians understand the need for foreign partners for modernizing its industry and developing its innovation.”

RT: Why do you want to see Russian startups investing abroad?

KP: “It’s a simple reason, that is how the global economy works. If you want to attract capital you also need to be able to invest capital abroad. And also not all companies that Russia needs for its modernization and innovation are ready to locate in Russia in the very beginning, and it’s not even necessary. But this will give the country outreach to tap into the global innovation pool.”

RT: Why would you leave Nokia, the worlds top mobile phone manufacturer to work in nanotech?

KP: “I spent 20 years in the IT industry and I saw what IT did for information. And now what I see is nanotechnology is doing the same transformation for matter.”